Notion Library Tour - How I Capture Knowledge On What I Watch & Read
In this article, I would like to walk you through my Notion Library setup.
I use this Library database inside of Notion to manage the content I consume daily like YouTube videos, web articles, and books.
This allows me to build up my knowledge and to learn more with each new thing I read, watch, and listen to.
Hopefully, you’ll find this walkthrough helpful, especially if this is something you are looking to implement for yourself inside of Notion.
This Library setup is simply a Notion database that I’ve created based on some YouTube videos I watched.
The main source of inspiration for this setup is from the video How I Use Notion As A Resonance Calendar by Ali Abdaal:
I also took some inspiration from a video on August Bradley’s channel called: Knowledge Vault - Notion Knowledge Management System:
From watching these videos and a bunch of others I was able to create a setup that would work for me.
This setup also funnels into other areas of my Notion setup like my Knowledge Hub and my Content Creation Hub. All of which would benefit from their own separate articles. Hopefully, I’ll cover these in the near future.
First, I want to show you an overview of the setup so you can see how it is structured.
I started by creating a Table View that I call Overview Table. This is where I can see everything in the database.
Let’s review each of the fields aka columns in this database.
This is where I enter the name of the video, book, or web article so I can easily find it.
This is where I denote the status of the entry:
- To Read - denotes the things that are in my backlog
- In Progress - denotes things that I am currently reading or watching
- To Be Reviewed - is used to signify things that I need to take summary notes on
- To Be Processed - is a new field to signify things I want to review and translate into Evergreen notes inside of Obsidian
This is where I denote the type of content:
- Web Articles
You’ll also see each type of entry has a different icon associated with it. I set this up in the various templates I’ve created. More on that later in the article.
This date field is simply the date I finished reading or watching the piece of content. This shows me the volume of content I’m consuming which is interesting to know from time to time.
This field links to a separate database I have called People. This allows me to link pieces of content I’ve read or watched to various people. This is quite a useful database and likely one that deserves its own walkthrough.
This is another separate database that contains high-level areas or topics that I’m interested in learning about. Some topics include: Blogging, Reading & Writing, Wellness, and UI & UX Design.
This database draws from the video I mentioned previously by August Bradley and allows me to link similar concepts together for later use.
Again this is likely a database that deserves its own walkthrough.
This is also a separate database that contains my content creation workflow that I follow to create content.
If I find an idea or concept in a book for example that sparks an idea for a blog article, I can link that book to the blog article inside of Notion so I can be sure to reference it.
The last two URL fields allow me to add a link to the original piece of content as well as a link to my public book notes on the topic.
Sometimes I’ll also link my book highlights depending on how useful I think they are long term.
For each type of content i.e. Books, Videos, Web Articles, I’ve created a separate template to make creating new entries easier.
Let’s look at my book notes template to show you what I mean.
This template has taken its inspiration from Ali Abdaal’s video: How I Remember Everything I Read - Ali Abdaal and I’ve customized it slightly to make it work for me.
The Book In 3 Sentences
By summarizing the book in 3 sentences you are cementing your knowledge of the book.
Being able to explain something from a high level means you can understand it correctly.
I have found this to be extremely helpful and it’s the first thing I do after I finish a book and make my notes on it.
How I Discovered It
This one should be simple enough, I just write down how I came across the book. Who recommended it or where I saw it referenced.
This helps me to remember who has been a good source of information so I can continue to learn from them.
Who Should Read It?
Who I would recommend the book to. This is a slightly different way of looking at the book.
By being able to summarize who should read the book I can pull out the book’s key themes and messages and identify who they would be beneficial for.
Another great way to remember what you’ve read.
How The Book Changed Me
If I can take just one nugget of useful information from a book then it was worth reading.
By experimenting and adapting the things I learn from books I am hopefully developing better skills and habits that will make me a better-developed person.
This also keeps me engaged with a book I’m reading as I’m trying to find at least one of those nuggets.
My Top 3 Quotes
I select the best 3 quotes from the book that resonate with me. I’m not sure how beneficial these things are over time but hopefully, as I continue to read and review my notes they’ll inspire me.
Summary & Notes
This is broken down into 3 sections:
- Notes - This is where I write book notes based on ideas or concepts that I’ve highlighted. I am sure to write these notes in my own words to be able to better understand things when I review them later.
- Mind Map - This is something I picked up from listening to the Bookworm podcast and it’s the idea of creating a mind map of a book you’ve read. Once I’ve finished reading a book, I’ll go back through it and create a mind map to visualize the contents and what points stood out to me. I’ve done this a handful of times and have found it really valuable to do.
Learn More - Here is where I store any recommendations or good references from the book. If the author mentions another book or if I see a topic I’d like to learn more about I note them all here so I can investigate them further when I want to.
- Action Items - This is a valuable section for me, and it’s where I write down any to-dos based on reading this book. If there are things I’d like to try or topics I’d like to learn more about, I turn them into an action item that I can work on later. These usually end up in my bullet journal but it’s handy to have a record of them on this book entry.
So that’s it for the book template.
The other templates I have for videos and web articles are very similar but have some tweaks.
Hopefully, you can see the power that a tool like Notion has if you want to create a knowledge management system like this one.
If there’s one thing to take from this article, it’s that you should think about and actively engage with the things you watch, read and listen to so you can get the most value out of them.
Unconsciously watching or reading will be good at the time but weeks or even months later you likely won’t remember anything from those books or videos.
With that said, there’s a lot to something like Notion so I recommend you start small.
Just start taking notes now on single pages and over time start building up the structures like the databases and linked databases.
I really hope you found some value in reading this article. If you did, please consider sharing it on social media. It will help others to find it and I would really appreciate it.